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Bill or Ben?

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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the magazine story.
"Oh, dear. What's happened here, sir?"
"Oh, no. Has Connor broken down, sir?"
"There are two of you! You played a trick on me. You
aren't really faster than I am!"
— Bill, Ben, and Connor

Bill or Ben? is the fifteenth (twenty-fourth in Australia) episode of the seventeenth season.


One day, while puffing along the mainline, a big and fast engine Bill and Ben have never seen before pulls onto their track at a junction. Further along the line, Bill and Ben meet Thomas who tells them that the streamlined engine was Connor. The twins think that Connor must be full of himself, racing around and surprising other engines. Thomas tries to explain that Connor is friendly, but the twins aren't convinced.

Sometime later, the twins pass through Henry's tunnel when they get surprised by Connor again. Ben is still inside the tunnel as Connor passes and whistles hello to Bill. The twins decided to play a trick on the streamlined engine.

The next time Connor comes to Sodor, Bill is waiting for him. Bill challenges Connor to race, but the big streamlined engine does not think it would be fair to race against such a small tank engine. Eventually, Connor agrees and when the signal turns green, they both race off towards Ulfstead Castle. Bill is soon left far behind and Connor thinks he has won. Connor gets a massive shock when he pulls into Ulfstead Castle and sees Ben waiting at the platform. Connor falls for the twins plan and thinks it is Bill who has beaten him to the castle. Ben suggests that they have a rematch and race back to the bridge. Connor agrees and the race soon starts.

This time, Connor takes no chances and focuses solely on beating the little tank engine. He concentrates on the race so hard that he runs through a red signal and nearly causes a serious accident with Henry. Connor's relief is short-lived as the Fat Controller pulls up in Winston. He is very cross with Connor for missing the red signal. Just then, the twins both pull up and Connor realises that he was being tricked all along. The Fat Controller is not amused with Bill and Ben's antics and punishes them by ordering Bill to be repainted so that they cannot be confused so easily.

At the Sodor Steamworks, Bill tries to get out of being repainted but Victor has been warned in advance by the Fat Controller about the twins' tricky ways. Shortly, Bill has a brand new dark blue livery.

Back at the shunting yard, Ben laughs when he sees his twin. Bill is not happy; now that he doesn't look the same as his twin, it's no fun at all. Then, Ben has a crafty idea and heads off to the Steamworks himself. When he arrives, Victor is not there and Ben tells Kevin that he is Bill and has come to be repainted in accordance with Sir Topham Hatt's orders. Kevin is unsure as he thinks Bill was repainted the day before, but when Ben threatens to involve the Fat Controller, Kevin agrees to let Ben be repainted. Soon Ben has been painted the same colour as Bill. Victor arrives and is not happy, but there is nothing he can do; the job has already been done.

Bill and Ben, now both painted dark blue, are on their way again when they see Connor up ahead. The twins decide to play another trick on him. Bill challenges Connor to another race. Connor agrees, thinking aloud about his assurance that only one of the twins has been repainted. Connor thinks he will definitely win, but Bill is not so sure!




  • This episode has similarities to the magazine story, Diesel's Race and the second season episode, The Diseasel.
  • Going by production order, this is the twenty-fourth episode of the seventeenth season.
  • This marks the first time since the seventh season episode, Bill, Ben and Fergus that Bill and Ben have had leading roles in an episode.
  • This is the first time since Thomas and the Magic Railroad where all of the engines have lamps.
  • Connor's close call with almost colliding with Henry is an example of performing a real-life railway danger known as a SPAD (Signal Passed At Danger).
  • Bill's upsetting is similar to James' from the first season episode, James and the Coaches.


  • Henry's brake van changes between shots.
  • When Connor screeches to a stop, his bogie wheels and trailing wheels spark, but neither are fitted with brakes.
  • Through out the episode, Connor's driving rods are not connected to his wheels.
  • When Bill and Ben speak to Thomas, Ben is not coupled to the trucks.
  • When Connor nearly hits Henry's train, the initial shot of him shutting his eyes as he applies his brakes shows him slowing down inches from Henry. In the next shot, Connor is not even at the points yet.
  • When Connor realises that he's been tricked, his valve gear is not connected to his crosshead.


In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
German Bill oder Ben? Bill or Ben?
Japanese ビルかな?ベンかな? Bill or Ben?
French Qui est qui? Who is who?
Norwegian Bill eller Ben? Bill or Ben?
Greek Ο Μπιλ ή ο Μπεν; Bill or Ben?
Hebrew ?ביל או בן Bill or Ben?
Spanish ¿Bill o Ben? Bill or Ben?
Polish Wiluś, czy Benio Bill, or Ben
Russian Билл или Бен Bill or Ben
Ukrainian Білл або Бен Bill or Ben
Hungarian Bill vagy Ben? Bill or Ben?
Italian Bill o Ben? Bill or Ben?
Romanian Bill sau Ben? Bill or Ben?
Czech Bill nebo Ben? Bill or Ben?
Thai แฝดซ่าส์ท้าแข่ง Twin Brother's Challenge
Portuguese Bill ou Ben? Bill or Ben?
Korean 빌인가 벤인가 Bill or Ben?
Croatian Bill ili Ben? Bill or Ben?

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets


  • Railway Mischief


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